Wings “Wild Life”

Posted 21 Jun 2012 in Albums of 1971, Albums of the 70s

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#723 in the Series) is Wings, Wild Life

After recording “Ram” with Linda McCartney around 1970, Paul McCartney decided to form a band named Wings. Without much notice, their first release, Wild Life was put together in about a week and released in 1971, containing the most rawness of any other Wings album. The album was not taken seriously, but in many fans’ opinions, it is a very huge landmark in McCartney’s recordings. For some it is one of his best albums. This album sounds like a session; a recording session in the studio that could have been labeled as a jam-out. It is still a very powerful album in the sense that it was recorded in a week, and some of the lyrics in the songs of Side Two mean a lot, and of course, the title track means the most, and contains a very dark message.

Wild Life starts out with a track titled “Mumbo”, a very quick-paced song that kicks off the album with a punch. If this track was formed better lyrically, maybe it could have been a huge hit, or a very successful one. You can hear through all the singing McCartney is doing that it had a killer melody and a very well formed song structure. The song lyrically sounds like a rough draft of a poem; very raw, and, disappointing to say, unprepared.

The next track is “Bip Bop”, a track that McCartney himself says is “unlistenable” to him. But don’t take that as the only word of advice. It is a very catchy song, and is probably the most acoustic on the album. With some echo on the vocals, and some very low-gain electric guitar, this song has a very listenable (somewhat disagreeing with Paul) quality to it, and could be possibly one of the best songs on the album because of its very joyous and happy feel to it.

After “Bip Bop” comes a very interesting yet strange reggae cover of a well-known song called “Love is Strange”, famously recorded by Buddy Holly in the late 1950’s, just before his death. There is a very long intro, with a very clean guitar riff and some interesting percussion instruments. If you listen to Buddy’s version before this, you will be very confused and wonder if it is the same song. However, although the versions are different, Wings’ version of this is still very powerful.

When “Love is Strange” fades out, you are shot out with Paul McCartney strumming a few chords on an acoustic guitar and singing, “The word ‘wild’ applies to, the words ‘you’ and ‘me’ “. Then, a very calming piano comes in, with very simple chords. You are somewhat confused, until when Paul starts singing. By far, this is one of Paul’s most dark, most influential messages in songs. You can get many messages out of this just with the chorus: “Wild life, what’s gonna happen to? Wild life, the animals in the zoo.” The most interesting part is when Paul talks about “political nonsense in the air”. He nearly screams his lungs out on this song, and because of this, the song is not critically received too well. The way somebody sings in a song does not matter. The message does. And when Paul lets out those pipes on this message, it is pretty fascinating, and makes you think.

After Side One, a softer duet with Paul and Linda, “Some People Never Know”, appears. It has a very late Beatles feel to it, as do some of the other songs on this album. No matter what anyone says, you can’t beat Paul and Linda’s duet on this song or the next track, “I Am Your Singer”. The vocals are so rich and raw, it makes you come back for more after listening many times. The perfect blend of piano, drums, and some acoustic guitar add to this song, making it one of the most well-planned on the album.

When “Some People Never Know” ends, you are somewhat drowned out with the sound of tremolo on an electric guitar. Then, Paul’s vocals move in, then later Linda’s. This is the start of the shortest song of the album, “I Am Your Singer”. In many reviews, the song is stated as “god awful” or “shocking as hell”. This is definitely not the case. If you listen to those vocal harmonies, it feels like you are floating on a cloud in a thunderstorm. The blend of the tremolo-based guitar and vocals makes you feel that same dark feeling as you would feel floating on a cloud. So, if you listen to this song, just close your eyes and imagine.

Next, you have Paul McCartney, raw, angry, in his prime. The track “Tomorrow” is definitely a new peak for McCartney, and the best on the album. The background vocals and Paul McCartney’s soothing piano notes and chords go perfectly with the melody. The words are planned perfectly, and if you may, you might call this song raw, straight up gold. It is fabulous. Absolutely breathtaking. With the changes in time and tempo, it absolutely makes you hooked to the song, as well as the fabulous work of many instruments.

Lastly, we have a very quiet, dark song from the “Ram” sessions, with Paul McCartney himself, speaking about his split friendship between him and John Lennon. You can tell right away, that this is a song about John Lennon, with the first few lines: “Dear friend, what’s the time? Is this really the borderline?” It is a very dark and listenable piano track, in fact, it is almost completely piano, until the cymbal crashing and very little percussion come rolling in. This is one of the absolute best on the album as well. It ends the album just as “Mumbo” begins it, with a very quick PUNCH that gets you straight into the album.

From my personal opinion, go out and buy this album. Download it, whatever. No matter what people say about this (rushed, over-timed, Paul McCartney looking for respect), take this review from a true Paul McCartney, Beatles, and Wings fan. This album could have been planned better, but for what it is, being recorded in a week, it is almost unthinkable at how much talent was set off with this album. It has a very special quality to it; somehow, these eight songs fit together perfectly; some coming from different influences. I rate this album a 7/10 for preparation, but I rate it a 9/10 for material, all coming together as an 8/10. This album is complete rawness. It is simply fantastic to listen to Wings as they once were, raw and awesome. I recommend the songs “Tomorrow”, “Wild Life”, and “Dear Friend” more than any other, because they truly stand out on this LP. I also recommend the 1993 remaster of this album on CD, featuring some bonus tracks and never before heard goodies. Overall, this album is not given enough respect, and absolutely leaves an awesome mark on Paul McCartney and Wings’ discography.

— Nick Oriold

Track listing

All tracks written by Paul and Linda McCartney, except where noted.

Side One

  1. “Mumbo” – 3:54
  2. “Bip Bop” – 4:14
  3. “Love Is Strange” (Mickey Baker, Ethel Smith) – 4:50
  4. “Wild Life” – 6:48

Side Two

  1. “Some People Never Know” – 6:35
  2. “I Am Your Singer” – 2:15
  3. “Tomorrow” – 3:28
  4. “Dear Friend” – 5:53

 Personnel

 Wings

  •  Paul McCartney – vocals, bass guitar, guitar, piano, keyboards, percussion
  • Linda McCartney – keyboards, piano, percussion, vocals
  • Denny Laine – guitars, bass guitar, percussion, keyboards, vocals
  • Denny Seiwell – drums, percussion

 Production

  • Alan Parsons and Tony Clarke – engineering

Links

Listen to the complete album below

Posted by Larry Carta


Leave a Reply

Before you post, please prove you are sentient.

what is 5 plus 7?